Recap: Brandon is showering at Lucinda's place the morning after one of their amorous, all-night romps. Lucinda enters the bathroom and hungrily stares at his naked body through the glass shower door. When Brandon finishes showering, he towels himself off, and the two start making out. In the next scene, Lucinda continues to stare at him hungrily as she ties his tie and laces up his shoes...and they make out again. Following that suck-face-fest, Brandon laments not being able to take her to the dean's dinner, but she says it would not be a wise political move for him to be seen dating a teacher. On his way out, Lucinda initiates yet another smooch session and takes her top off. WE GET IT, SHOW: these two really like doinking each other.
Dean's house. The dean makes a big stupid deal about Brandon not bringing a date to his dinner party, and reminds him that the invitation was for him plus one. He steers him over toward Josh Richland (who, incidentally, also appears to be dateless - but I don't see anyone hassling him about it), and for a few seconds Josh and Brandon pretend to be friends and shake hands. As soon as the dean is out of earshot, Josh snidely tells him he's big news around The Condor and snarks that he's never seen a freshman move up the fast track the way he has. Of course he hasn't, but I thought Donna adequately explained that phenomenon in the Heartbreaker episode when she gushed, "The world just loves Brandon!" Josh warns Brandon that he's planning to write a tell-all feature story on him, and will interview his teachers and friends in an effort to learn more about "the great man". Brandon looks irked at his sarcasm and tells Josh he's just a regular student trying to make a little noise, so then Josh retorts that he's way too perfect to be real and intends to learn the truth. As he stalks off, Brandon looks a tad worried - no doubt because he's secretly doinking Lucinda.
Beach house. David and Donna agree that they're both nervous he's going to fall off the wagon and start doing drugs again. David tells her that his therapist advised him to seek out activities that keep his hands busy...and by keep his hands busy, Donna assumes he's referring to sex and immediately looks anxious. David assures her that the writers are taking a much needed break from continually harping on her impenetrable virginity and will instead focus on his return to music. Oh joy. He tells her he's thinking of renting a piano, and thinks it'll give the apartment a peaceful vibe and maybe help them grow close again.
The Walsh house. Mama and Papa Walsh are hanging in the living room when Brandon arrives home after the dean's dinner party. He tells his parents the dinner went well, and that he's off to a luncheon at the chancellor's estate the following day. Mama Walsh furrows her brows and asks him why he didn't park his car in the garage, and Brandon shiftily tells her he may go to "Steve's" later to unwind. Mmm hmm..
Brenda's in her room, trying on a long black strappy dress, when Brandon stops by. She tells him that Stuart invited her to Palm Springs for the weekend so they can try to pick up their dysfunctional relationship where it was abruptly left off eleven episodes ago. Brenda points out that she's still wearing his engagement ring (whaddup with that?)...and when Brandon looks alarmed that she may be considering elopement again, she assures him she's only wearing the ring on her right finger. Brandon changes the subject and tells her that ever since he joined the task force, everything is so political and all about appearances. He then jokes that if she weren't going away for the weekend, he'd take her as his date to the luncheon. Brenda says she knows he's seeing someone and urges him to take this mystery woman to the luncheon, but Brandon immediately clams up and tells her it's not a serious relationship.
Stuart arrives to pick up Brenda the following morning. She answers the door, and for some weird reason, he pretends to be a vacuum cleaner salesman and she plays along. Whatever, weirdos. Mama and Papa Walsh enter the foyer to greet Stuart and offer him some breakfast. He passes on breakfast and remarks that Brenda's making him hang out on campus for the day - and after that they're leaving for Palm Springs. On their way out, Papa Walsh cheekily tells the couple to give him a call if they plan on eloping again. Haha!
Seminar. Lucinda leads a discussion about monogamy, polygamy, and the power of sex and women, blah blah. This seminar seems more like a '90s daytime talk show than a university course.
After the seminar, Ahn-drea realizes she forgot her anatomy textbook in Lucinda's classroom, so Kelly offers to go back and get it for her. Steve spots Ahn-drea and rushes over to ask her if they're all set, and she tells him she's having second thoughts. Steve laughs nervously and says he's ready to move in...but Ahn-drea is worried that it might not be a good idea for him to live in her dorm room 'cause she's concerned he'll turn it into a KEG party den. She then says she may need the room to study in (why, exactly?) and that she'll need the computer to do research (then why not pack it up and take it to Jesse's??). Steve assures her she can use the room/computer any time she needs to, and says he's become very Brandon-esque lately. That last part clinches it, and Ahn-drea finally agrees to let him move in.
Kelly returns to Lucinda's classroom to retrieve Ahn-drea's textbook. Lucinda looks bummed while reading a rejection letter from the NEA, which turned down her funding request. She gripes to Kelly that no one believes in her work, and Kelly says she does, and that she thinks Lucinda is brilliant. Lucinda tells her she's working on a film that's halfway finished but can't get the money to complete it. Kelly's surprised to hear that she's a filmmaker and looks intrigued...and after mulling that over for a few seconds invites Lucinda to join her for a cup of coffee at her slouchy boyfriend's restaurant.
The Peach Pit. Nat and Dylan are looking over the books, and Nat is surprised to see how well the place ran while he was recuperating from his heart attack. No duh - wasn't it proven in the Pit and the Pendulum episode how totally sucky a restauranteur Nat is? Dylan credits Suzanne with how efficiently the diner ran in his absence and says she really seems to know what she's doing. Kelly enters the diner with Lucinda and introduces her to Dylan. The three sit at a table, and Dylan looks totally transfixed as Lucinda tells him all about her field work in Guatemala and her documentary. Dylan tells her he'd love to see it, so Kelly explains that it's still unfinished 'cause Lucinda can't get the funding to complete it. Dylan says he'd love to look over her proposal and possibly back her project. Meanwhile, Brandon and Steve enter the diner and sit at the counter. Nat ambles over and asks them if they know who the babe is who's sitting with Dylan and Kelly. They look over, see that it's Lucinda, and Steve tells Nosy he thinks she's an anthropology teacher. Nat blabs that she and Dylan are chatting about financing a movie...and Steve remarks that she's talking to the right person, since Dylan has very deep pockets.
Dorm. Josh is interviewing Ahn-drea about Brandon while she packs up her dorm room. She gushes in nauseating fashion about how much she adooooores Brandon, and refers to him as decent, considerate, and passionate about what he believes in. Josh accuses her of crushing on him, and sardonically asks her if he's really the father of her baby. Ick, Josh. Don't even joke about that. Ahn-drea snipes back that she has absolutely no dirt on Brandon, so Josh backpedals and admits that the guy does have talent. Steve arrives at the dorm room carrying a television set, and Josh takes that as his cue to wrap up the interview and thank Ahn-drea for her time. Ahn-drea turns her attention to Steve and tells him she talked to Kathy (the RA) about their arrangement, and that she's OK with him living there as long as he behaves. Steve catches Josh on his way out and asks him if he'd like to interview him about Brandon, and says he has lots of great stories, particularly the one where Brandon pulled his fat out of the fire after he got caught breaking into Professor Randall's office. Oh dear.
Brenda and Stuart are heading to Palm Springs in Stuart's fancy Range Rover. Stuart grumps that his father will probably crap all over his project proposal simply 'cause it was his idea. Brenda clearly doesn't give a shit and just tells him she's glad they get to spend this time together. Stuart tells her that they're not going straight to the hotel 'cause he has something special planned: they're going to camp out in the desert overnight! Brenda's not really into the idea, but Stuart tries to make it sound romantic, so she agrees to spend the night with him under the stars.
Gym. As Lucinda works out, she notices that Josh is interviewing D'Shawn for his feature story on Brandon. D'Shawn tries to blow him off as best he can and not give Josh any dirt. Brandon suddenly enters the gym, and he and Josh exchange insults before Josh ambles off. D'Shawn warns Brandon that Josh has it in for him and says he should be careful about being seen with Lucinda. Brandon tells him that he and Lucinda aren't talking - and to demonstrate his claim, Lucinda gets up from the machine she was exercising on and stalks past them without so much as a glance at Brandon.
Piano store. David is playing Moonlight Sonata on a piano when Kelly enters the store. She asks him why he wanted her to meet him there, and he says he wanted to get her opinion on which piano he should rent for the apartment. He tells her he wants to get back into his music, blah blah - and Kelly asks him why he really wanted to talk to her. He tells he'd like it if she moved back into the beach apartment...but she's not sure that's a good idea, so he tells her to think it over.
California University. Brandon drops by Lucinda's office for no apparent reason, and he and Lucinda pretend to be formal and official until they're behind closed doors. They immediately start smooching, and Lucinda murmurs an approval of his sexy five o'clock shadow. She asks him why Josh was talking to D'Shawn, and Brandon tells her he's snooping around for some dirt on him. Lucinda advises him to get a public girlfriend - a beard - who can throw Josh off the scent of their yeechy affair. Brandon asks her if she enjoyed her lunch with Dylan and Kelly, and Lucinda doesn't catch his sarcastic tone and excitedly tells him that since the NEA has passed on her film, Dylan might finance it. She asks Brandon if Dylan really has as much money as he's hinted, and Brandon wryly confirms that he does indeed have very deep pockets. Lucinda then says that Kelly's terrific and suggests using her as his beard and taking her as his 'plus one' to the chancellor's luncheon. Brandon mulls that over for a few seconds before swatting away the papers on her desk so they can have sex atop the most uncomfortable piece of furniture possible.
Brenda and Stuart are in a remote part of the desert, and the sun's about to set. The two get out of the Range Rover and marvel over the beautiful sky. Brenda remarks that she's chilly and goes back to the car to get her sweater...and by force of habit, she locks the car door and instantly realizes the car keys are inside. After trying all the doors, she moans, "Oh God." She tells Stuart what just happened, and he gets pissed off and asks her how she could do such a stupid thing. I actually think it was pretty dumb of him to leave the keys in the ignition in the first place. He tries to unlock the door by sticking one of his arms down a partially opened window, but has no luck. Brenda apologizes, but he's in a pissy mood and angrily kicks one of the tires. In the next scene, night has fallen, and Stuart whines about being cold. A truck happens to drive by, and Brenda flags down the driver and asks him if he could give them a lift to the nearest phone. He's amenable to that, but says it's thirty miles away. Stuart stubbornly refuses to leave his Range Rover unattended, and Brenda snarks that she's not getting into a strange man's truck by herself. The driver, who has an unfriendly dog in the passenger seat, tells them they'll have to sit in the back of the truck, which is filled with chickens in cages and a whole lot of feathers.
Dylan's house. Brandon asks Dylan and Kelly if Josh requested an interview with either of them, and Kelly says he hasn't, but that he's spoken with Donna. Apparently she used the word "incredible" several times to describe Brandon, and this just made Josh groan. Brandon explains that being on this elite task force entails going to a number of social functions, and asks Dylan for permission to borrow Kelly for the chancellor's luncheon tomorrow. Kelly looks excited and says she'd love to meet the chancellor, who's apparently a Nobel Prize winner. Seriously? That bumbling idiot? Brandon tells Dylan if it's too weird for him to loan out Kelly he'll understand, but Dylan's cool with it.
Dorm. Steve is chatting on the phone with Muntz while browsing through a copy of Playboy. While he's doing that, Cathy comes over to check up on him. She derisively tells him he's exactly what she expected - a typical KEG bonehead - and says she's only letting him stay in the dorm room as a favor to Ahn-drea so she doesn't lose it. It remains unclear why Ahn-drea still needs a dorm room now that she's gotten married and moved in with Jesse. Shouldn't it get re-assigned to some deserving student in need of campus housing?
Stuart and Brenda find a cheap and nasty motel and get a room for the night. Brenda tries to convince Stuart that they'll be able to laugh about this one day, but Stuart is still in far too pissy a mood to have a sense of humor about it. She tries to be chatty and upbeat, but he just sulks and insists on sleeping on a chair instead of in the bed with Brenda. Ouch.
Lucinda's house. Brandon drops by unannounced, as has become his habit. Lucinda chides him for not calling ahead and says she might have had people over, and adds that she doesn't want them to be careless and get busted. Brandon notices that she's wearing his flannel shirt, and she gives him a flirty smile and tells him she wears it around the house because she likes the smell of him when he's not there. She then tells him she's putting together a proposal for Dylan regarding her film. Brandon makes a snide comment about Dylan and all his undeserved millions, and Lucinda teases him for being jealous.
Desert. Stuart's Range Rover somehow got completely destroyed overnight. He's furious and snarls to Brenda that he doubts he'll ever be able to laugh about this...and Brenda is starting to look fed up.
Chancellor's luncheon. Kelly confides to Brandon that she's nervous to be in the company of a Nobel Prize winner and his guests, but Brandon assures her she'll do just fine. The dean walks over to greet them and looks pleased that Brandon took his advice and brought along a date. He then steers the two toward the chancellor - and as they pass [a dateless] Josh along the way, Brandon gives him a smug, "Hey."
Palm Springs. Brenda and Stuart arrive at their hotel and greet Stuart's father, Lawrence. He bitchily reprimands Stuart for being late for a meeting he set up, and Stuart tells him it couldn't be helped, and that it wasn't his fault. He explains that they made a stop in the desert...and then throws Brenda under a bus when he tattles to his dad that she accidentally locked the keys inside his car when she went back to get her sweater. Lawrence snaps that he should have been a gentleman and offered to get the sweater for her, then mutters that he doesn't know why he bothers with him anymore. Brenda suddenly jumps into the fray and snaps that she doesn't know why she bothers with either of them. She barks at Lawrence for never giving his son a chance, then accuses Stuart of being too much of a ball-less namby-pamby in the pathetic way he constantly tries to prove himself to his father. She then takes off her big diamond ring and dramatically throws it at Stuart, but it flies past him and ends up in the swimming pool. She storms off, and Lawrence orders Stuart to dive in and retrieve the ring, but he ignores his father and chases after Brenda.
Brenda runs to the nearest pay phone and tries to reach Kelly at Dylan's house...but when Dylan answers, he tells her that Kelly is at a luncheon with Brandon. Brenda tells him she's stranded and needs a ride home, so Dylan offers to pick her up. Since she's in Palm Springs, she pretends to consider taking the bus home, but Dylan insists on making the drive to fetch her.
Chancellor's luncheon. The dean tells Brandon that Kelly is very impressive and definitely an asset...and they glance over to where she's chatting with the chancellor. After the party, Kelly gabbles to Brandon about how much fun she had talking to a Nobel Prize winner (!) and looks pleased with her hobnobbing abilities. Brandon thanks her for being his beard, and she says they make a pretty good team - and that he's definitely the best catch on campus. A blushing Brandon reminds her that it's time to head over to David's/Donna's party at the beach apartment.
Dylan and Brenda are on the road, headed back to L.A. She thanks him for rescuing her, and wryly says that she and Stuart were supposed to have a romantic weekend...but she saw a side of him she never saw before. It made her think of Baja, and the episode where she stupidly forgot her passport and got detained at the U.S.-Mexican border. She reminds Dylan how understanding he was during that crisis, and how they were able to quickly put it behind them and laugh about it. Mmm...nope, I don't remember them ever laughing about that situation. She then criticizes Stuart for not being able to laugh off the fact that his very expensive vehicle got completely destroyed after she locked the keys inside. She tells Dylan that things got pretty ugly, and she and Stuart are definitely over. She then wonders aloud why she can't keep anything going with any guy since their breakup, and Dylan mumbles that she just has to find the right guy. Brenda pounces all over that and says she had the right guy, but then lost him. She tells Dylan she's never really gotten over him, and that she's still in love with him. This admission makes Dylan look visibly uncomfortable, and he doesn't reciprocate her feelings of love...and the two decide they're glad to still be friends. That settled, he suggests joining the rest of the gang at the party at the beach apartment.
Beach house. David serves shish-kabobs and tells everyone how grateful he is for their friendship. Kelly announces that she's decided to move back into the beach apartment, and everyone is thrilled with the news and toasts her imminent return. Kelly asks no one in particular where Dylan is, and no one has any idea. David and Donna announce that they will now serenade everyone with a song on the new piano. As they start playing, Dylan and Brenda arrive together, and Brandon looks confused and asks his sister why she's not in Palm Springs. Brenda tells everyone how Dylan rescued her and drove all the way to Palm Springs to bring her home, and Kelly looks extremely cheesed. She sarcastically snarks at Dylan that he must be very hungry after his long drive. This annoys Dylan, and he tells Brandon he's more than welcome to borrow Kelly any time he wants...and Brandon and Kelly react by sharing a long, meaningful stare. Mmm hmm..
Consider the seeds sown.